The federal government has said that any increase in the price of petrol has been at the instance of petroleum marketers, insisting it has not removed subsidy the product.
Minister of state Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva told journalists yesterday in Abuja at a stakeholders’ consultation forum on regulations organised by the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority, (NMDPRA), that the government is still paying subsidies on petrol.
This is as the NMDPRA is set to unveil new regulations and policies to enforce the provisions of the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) 2021 in the midstream and downstream sectors of the industry.
Recall that LEADERSHIP had earlier reported that fuel marketers had increased the pump price of petrol from the official rate of N165 per litre to N185 and N230 per litre depending on the location in Abuja and other states.
LEADERSHIP checks reveal that even government owned NNPC Limited filling stations have raised the petrol pump price from government regulated N165 per litre to N174 per litre and above.
Sylva said: “I can tell you authoritatively, we have not deregulated. The government is still subsidizing (petrol price). If there are increases in price, it is not from the government. It’s probably from the marketers but of course I will talk to the Authority to ensure that they actually regulate the price. This is not from the government, we have not deregulated”.
Meanwhile, the stakeholders’ forum was organised by the NMDPRA to consider and review the midstream and downstream petroleum regulations to bequeath the industry with laws and policies to enable needed investment in the sector.
In all 10 new regulations are being considered for adoption during the four-day forum.
Speaking on the new regulations being considered for the industry, Sylva said they will provide clarity for the operators and attract investments to the mid and downstream sector.
The Minister who admitted that the energy landscape in the country was in dire state, said the new regulation would clear up the sector for investments.
“This administration understands the need to have an all encompassing, well thought out and unambiguous regulatory instrument that is painstakingly developed to meet present and future aspirations of government. This is required to attract much needed investments and create opportunities in the sector. Hence the need for stakeholders participation and engagement developing the regulations, processes and procedures”, he stated.
The minister added that “whilst noting that the current state of our local energy landscape is dire and is in need of ingenious solutions, we have an opportunity to ameliorate the situation through these sets of regulations.
“I am privy to the overall intent of these regulations, which are to provide clarity and certainty for investors, promote and build investor confidence, increase and improve foreign and indigenous participation in these sectors, and optimize value for all our stakeholders. These will culminate into enablement of businesses, growth of the industry and creation of myriads of opportunities for Nigerians”.
Speaking earlier, the Authority chief executive, Farouk Ahmed explained that the consultation was in line with the mandate of the Petroleum Industry Act, PIA 2021 which ordered that stakeholders must be consulted before any regulations are made.
The new regulations address issues like petroleum transportation and shipment, licenses and permits, gas pricing for domestic market, gas pipeline tariff, the environment, as well as the gas infrastructure fund amongst others.
Ahmed explained that these “regulations are integral to the operationalisation of the PIA and require our collective commitment over the next few days. We are resolved that our policies will enable investment and ease of doing business, create employment opportunities for Nigerians and prevent undue burdens on our partners.
“Accordingly, our priority will be to ensure these regulations are primary enablers of the Federal Government’s Decade of Gas initiative and will help catalyse investment and enhance the attractiveness of the domestic gas value chain.
“We are also conscious of the fact that effective regulations must, amongst many outcomes, ensure fairness, equity, transparency, and certainty for all players in the regulatory space”.